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American Airlines expands travel waiver to include more than 50 airports

Police officers walk through Miami International Airport, which was closed due to Hurricane Irma, on Sept. 9. (Giorgio Viera/EPA-EFE)

This post has been updated to note that American Airlines has announced it will not resume limited service at Miami International Airport Monday evening as was indicated earlier on Sunday.

American Airlines has expanded its travel alert to include more than 50 airports and says special fares of $99 each way for travel in the main cabin and $199 one way in the premium cabin will be expanded to include all cities covered in the waiver as well as Charleston, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Savannah, Ga.

The fares will apply to direct, single-leg flights out of the locations covered in the travel alert through Sept. 17. The airline also said the $99 fare cap would apply to tickets for those returning to these locations Sept. 10 through Sept. 17.

The airline last week offered similar fares for travelers leaving Florida, following an announcement by JetBlue. Other carriers, including United and Delta, also said they would cap fares for people trying to escape Hurricane Irma. Carriers also used larger aircraft and added flights, hoping to accommodate the crush of people trying to leave Florida. In some cases, carriers also said they would waive change fees.

Many Florida airports remain closed to commercial air traffic. Key West International was among the first to shut down, followed by airports in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. American ended operations at its hub at Miami International on Friday and has cancelled hundreds of flights. According to the flight tracking website, there were more than 3,100 flight cancellations within, to and from the United States on Sunday. American was the hardest hit with 743 cancellations, followed by Southwest with 633. Southwest also has a major presence in Florida.

Two of Florida’s largest airports — Miami International and Orlando International — reported hundreds of cancellations over the weekend as Irma began its approach. At both Orlando and Miami, more than 700 flights were cancelled Sunday. American said, Sunday night that would not resume flights at most  Florida airports until at least Tuesday. Miami International officials said that the airport would remain closed Monday but was likely to resume operations on Tuesday.

According to a tweet by Emilio Gonzalez, Miami International’s chief executive, there were wind gusts of at least 100 mph at the airport. While he said there has also been significant water damage throughout its facilities, there was not the widespread flooding depicted in a tweet by the White House’s director of social media. The tweet was later deleted.

Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale International said via Twitter that it has not set a definite opening day and time yet.

The airport said most of the airport has power but crews need to assess the damage  left by Irma and make any repairs before resuming operations.

Hurricane Irma: Storm moves north after pounding Florida
Heavy winds and rain are seen in Miami on Sunday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Irma, the record-setting hurricane that devastated islands across the Caribbean, has been churning north through Florida — and has turned its sights on Georgia.

Visit the Capital Weather Gang’s live updates page for more on the storm.